Sunday, January 29, 2017

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?

Sometimes one sewing machine brings in many requests and still doesn't get sold. One of my latest listings is for a Singer 522, a nifty free arm that is all metal inside:
Singer 522 with extension table removed
The manual dates this model as a 1977 gem and it is a really nice sewing machine, even from this era. Charlie calls and asks to see it but further information shows that he's going to be happy with a sewing machine that is a bit more rugged, a Necchi Nora that has seen better days.
Necchi Nora in treadle (treadle previously sold)
I previously was pretty frightened about the wiring on this Necchi but once I calmed down and really looked at it I got things in order and it was just waiting for a new home. For Charlie, this was great because he needed to sew a sail for a minor repair.

Next up was Jason who actually did take the 522 home. After making dog collars on a newer Brother sewing machine and not being able to sew all of the layers, Jason thought this might be a heavy enough machine and with the free arm it was ideal. A test drive with the fabric and nylon webbing proved it could do the job while stitching forward. On his way out the door he noticed my other sewing machines so I couldn't resist showing him a Singer 15-91 in a beautiful cabinet. That would be his next step if he needed something heavier, Jason mused. Then I get several texts later when Jason couldn't make it reverse stitch when it kept breaking needles. He was a great troubleshooter but we agreed it probably wasn't the right machine for going backwards through 6 layers of material. I suggested several others until I realized he wanted a free arm. Oops. But I did have a Kenmore 158-19412 that might just work.
Kenmore 158-19412
It was great, sewing forwards and backwards, zigzag and straight, with the bonus of a free arm. Before he was going to leave I asked if he wanted to see a Singer 15-91 because I did have one that was not in good cosmetic shape, no base, no cabinet, no accessories but bobbins, and he was game:
Singer 15-91 (cabinet no longer around)
Of course, it was exactly what he was looking for and the deal was made. No Kenmore, no Singer 522, but the mother-of-them-all, a gear to gear Singer 15-91 went home with Jason. What about needing a free arm? Jason did try to get all of the fabric covered webbing under the needle and found there was more free space, even for a flat bed, than with the newer Brothers. It was going to work. This is how I make my customers happy: you get what you are looking for and can even return it if things don't work out. Now Jason has a friend who makes these dog collars, too, and he knows she is also looking for a better sewing machine so I hope to hear from her in the near future.

What happened to the Singer 522? It's back on the local Craigslist, waiting for someone who needs it's free arm but maybe not sewing so many layers. And the Kenmore 158-19421? It got a box of accessories and a carrying case and just got listed. Here's hoping it's not like that doggie in the window whom everyone loves but no one takes home.

8 comments:

  1. A friend of mine gave me a 522. It's a nice machine. I've used it to mend jeans. When I broke a needle, I took it in to my local repair guy. A washer on the upper horizontal shaft (close to the front end of the machine) deteriorated. There are replacement washers in the shape of a C that you can use, instead of taking apart the machine to replace the washer. I thought the feed gears on this machine were nylon or plastic.

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    1. Without pulling things apart, I checked an online seller of parts and you are right, Jonathan, those feed dog gears are nylon or plastic of some kind. Thanks for the good catch on my mistake!

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  2. OMG, this machine so beautiful. Nice vintage machine collections.Where do you get the Kenmore?

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    1. Someone wanted it out of her house and said it never did sew right. Surprise: the needle was in backwards. It has now been sold.

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  3. Karen,
    There is a plastic cover under the feed dogs on your Singer 522. It's super easy to remove, there's only one screw. If you haven't removed that cover yet I suggest you do. My 522 hadn't been cleaned and there was a ton of lint in there. I know Singer made better machines but if the feed gears broke on my 522, I would replace them. I enjoy sewing with mine.

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    1. I did check mine and cleaned it all out earlier and they are plastic gears but mine looked nearly new so it's possible it was either not used much or had been replaced. Will sew heavy stuff up to a point, I discovered.

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  4. Karen,
    I have a similar model Kenmore I purchased at a garage sale. I love the machine. It's an all metal free arm with a great selection of utility stitches. I made a garment with it for a friend's daughter and mine was occasionally skipping stitches. Have you ever encountered that? I meant to take it in and have it looked. Maybe I need to oil the bobbin area?

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  5. It's almost always the wrong needle. Replace the needle with a new one and make sure it matches the fabric type: ballpoint for knits, sharp for woven. It's possible if you are using a Universal needle the fabric doesn't like that. That should fix it, in my experience.

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